The cost of college has grown exponentially over the last few decades, leaving many adults to figure out if going into debt for education is worth it or not. But now, two brothers have found a way to educate the masses without breaking the bank.
Hank Green and his brother, John, the bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and other young adult novels, have posted endless hours of educational content on their YouTube channel, which has more than 3.5 million subscribers. They’re now taking their content to the next level with Study Hall, a new initiative that allows users to gain college credit, for a much cheaper rate, by taking classes on YouTube.
Study Hall is a partnership between Crash Course, Arizona State University and YouTube. The video program helps users first determine whether college is even right for them, and if it is, helps them learn what they can major in and how they can enter the work world afterward.
Study Hall allows users to take courses online in order to earn college credits accredited through ASU. That means those credits can be counted toward a degree at ASU, in addition to other colleges that recognize programs developed by ASU.
The project began more than three years ago, when the Crash Course team realized that 43 million Americans hold some form of student debt, totaling $1.75 trillion. Of those 43 million people, 40 percent don’t have a degree, because they never graduated for a variety of reasons.
“We decided to look at what the hardest parts are for students, and one of them was the barrier of cost and the barrier of bureaucracy to higher education,” Hank said.
Viewers can watch the educational videos on the Study Hall YouTube channel for free. Then, if they want to attain college credit, they can go to the Study Hall website and purchase access to the full class, where they’ll be given coursework and receive feedback from faculty.
The best part of it all? The program’s initial cost is only $25, which gives users access to faculty and assessments. From there, users can pay $400 to receive college credit. Otherwise, users can choose not to take the credit, meaning they’ve only spent $25.
“Fear is a big barrier,” Hank said. “Having a little bit of skin in the game is good with $25, but not an amount that anyone thinks is a large amount for a college course. But lowering that initial barrier of paying $1,200 for a course that I might fail is important.”
Currently, Study Hall’s YouTube channel covers topics like data literacy, chemistry, algebra, writing composition, human communication, rhetoric and composition, math and early U.S. history. The Greens plan to expand the number of courses to the point that students could complete their entire first year of college through the program.